The best things to do in Dunster, Somerset

By Discover More UK


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If you’re planning a trip to Somerset, a visit to Dunster is the perfect way to spend an afternoon, or even a whole day because there are so many things to do in Dunster, despite its small size.

Located on the north coast of Somerset, Dunster is just a short 3-mile drive from the seaside town of Minehead and makes a great addition to a visit to Exmoor National Park or on the way to North Devon.

From the popular Dunster Castle, to the lesser-known Conygar Tower or the fun Golden Retriever Experience, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to do for an afternoon or more in this picturesque Somerset town.

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Dunster village with Dunster Castle on  hill in the background

Where to park in Dunster Village

There are a couple of options for parking if you’re visiting Dunster.

If you plan to visit the Castle, parking is £5.50 per day (free for National Trust members) and from here you can visit the castle and also walk into the village so this is probably the most economic option if you plan to spend the best part of a day here.

Alternatively there is a car park on the A396, just off the A39. This is a pay and display car park with toilet facilities and it brings you out at the other end of the village from the castle.

The best things to do in Dunster

Visit Dunster Castle and Gardens

Green grass with Dunster Castle in the background
Dunster Castle

When considering what to do in Dunster, it’s impossible to miss Dunster Castle, as it’s the village’s biggest attraction.

Dunster Castle is a National Trust property that sits on a steep hill above the village, called the Tor.

The castle used to be a motte and bailey style but now it’s a country house with sprawling gardens on the surrounding hill and grounds below.

The gardens themselves are fascinating to experience, with winding pathways to explore, sub-tropical plants, Mediterranean gardens and palm trees contrast with the 15th century castle and the surrounding English countryside.

There’s a substantial amount of parking on site which costs £5.50 per vehicle and tickets to visit the castle cost £13 per adult. Both parking and castle entry are free if you’re a National Trust member.

Inside the castle are informative displays about the castle’s history, which became a country home in the 19th century. In fact, the last resident family only moved out in 1976! Don’t miss the stunning staircase or library during your visit and the views from the conservatory.

Check the website to see if tours are running and to check the latest opening times.

Don’t miss the Watermill

At the foot of the Tor Hill, within the castle grounds, you’ll find an active watermill which still produces wholemeal flour which is available for purchase in the shop.

If you visit on a weekend you can tour inside the watermill.

Either following the winding path and signs from the castle to the watermill or find the watermill at the Mill Lane entrance to the Castle and grounds.

Visit the quirky Dunster Museum and Doll Collection

Perhaps a love it or hate it attraction in Dunster!

This small museum on Dunster High Street has thousands of dolls from all around the world!

It’s a great, fun attraction if you’re looking for things to do in Dunster with kids and it’s also a free attraction in Dunster. It just relies solely on donations so please consider this if you visit.

Take a stroll down to the Medieval Bridge

River with old stone bridge in the background
Medieval Bridge

If you find yourself at the watermill exit/entrance of Dunster Castle, continue past the tea room and you’ll see a small passage on the left called Mill Gardens.

At the other end you’ll come out on Park Street which is worth a moment to enjoy too because of the beautiful pink house and quaint thatched cottages here. Seriously straight out of a fairytale!

Continue towards the River Anvil and you’ll come to the Medieval packhorse bridge which you can use to cross the river and walk along the other river bank and fields beyond. 

Explore the picturesque village of Dunster

Dunster village high street
Dunster Village

Of course you can’t visit Dunster without spending some time exploring the village itself.

The picturesque High Street has lovely local stores, boutique shops and postcard-perfect views of the castle on the hill.

If you’re planning on eating out in Dunster, don’t miss The Stags Head Inn for a traditional pub experience, or the Castle Coffee House or quick teas, coffees and light bite refreshments. Or for a treat, head to Reeves Restaurant.

If you’ve parked in the village car par off the A396, the Dunster Lunchbox stand at the edge of the car park has fresh sausage rolls and pastries for food on the go.

Book on to the Golden Retriever Experience

A large amount of Golden Retrievers between two fences
Golden Retriever Experience.

If you’re looking for things to do in and around Dunster that are perhaps a little different, look no further than the Golden Retriever Experience.

Just minutes from Dunster village you will find 27 cuddly, friendly Golden Retriever dogs just ready to spend a couple of hours playing fetch with you, lying with you and cuddling up to you!

This totally unique experience is perfect for dog lovers, especially for a gift or special occasion.

The experience starts at £60 per person for two hours and slots book up months in advance, although you can get lucky with cancellations. The experience is only open March-October because it’s outdoors. Find out more and book here.

Visit the quirky Chris Crackers Junk Shop

Interior of a junk shop with many items for purchase
Chris Crackers Junk Shop

For other things to do near Dunster, why not dabble in a spot of antique and junk shop shopping!

The village of Carhampton is home to this famous junk shop, immediately on the left side of the road as you approach Carhampton from Dunster.

Here you’ll find quirky indoor decor and outdoor ornaments. There are some pricey things here but also you might just find a hidden gem of a souvenir to take home!

Take a walk around the Conygar Tower

Conygar Tower is tucked in the parkland immediate off the A39 as you turn onto the A396 towards the village of Dunster.

There’s a great walking route here which you can easily access after parking your car at the car park on the opposite side of the road.

You’ll find an entrance onto the walking route around the tower from off St Thomas Street. This whole green area is technically the edge of Exmoor National Park!

Exmoor National Park

Speaking of the National Park…

For things to do around Dunster, Somerset in general is full of walking routes and outdoor areas to explore. Exmoor National Park is a beautiful area of moorland, woodland and views with over 1000km of walking routes.

Check out the National Park website for walking routes and information about the area.

Stroll on the beach at Minehead

Just down the road you’ll find Minehead and a beach which is a large sandy beach, beautiful on sunny days and it’s dog friendly – perfect if you’re planning a dog-friendly holiday in Somerset.

You’ll also find several great accommodation options in Minehead if you choose to base yourself in the area for your holiday in Somerset.

Summary: Dunster things to do

Dunster might not be the biggest place to visit but despite its size, it really packs a punch for things to do and attractions in and around Dunster to enjoy. Hopefully this guide will help you plan your trip to Somerset and persuade you to add Dunster to your itinerary!

You might also like things to do in Wells, Somerset

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